A gesture viewed as milestone ahead of WPFD
In a commendable move by Lesotho’s media sector, the National Reforms Authority (NRA) has adopted the draft National Media Policy (2021) as well as the draft National Code of Conduct, Behaviour and Practice (2021) this week.
This follows extensive two-day deliberations on the two documents which dominated the agenda of the NRA plenary on April 27 to 28. This happens just a week ahead of the coveted World Press Freedom Day.
Both the policy and code were drafted and presented before the plenary by the NRA Media Committee following consultations with stakeholders, MISA Lesotho included. The media sector has been identified as a thematic area for reforms driven by the NRA.
Adoption of the draft documents by the NRA is indicative of a step closer to submitting it before the National Assembly and ultimately before the cabinet of ministers for possible approval.
MISA Lesotho strongly believes that the two documents, in the shape adopted by the NRA plenary, are a shining light to Lesotho’s ailing media sector.
The draft National Media Policy is a foundation to “building a media sector that is professional, ethical and toes the universally accepted standards in its conduct and practice”. It facilitates the formulation of laws on media, access to and receipt of information, advertising, and many other laws relevant, by the parliament.
The draft National Code of Conduct, Behaviour, and Practice, on the other hand, is an instrument intended to guide the conduct, behavior, and practice of journalists in Lesotho. The Code is expected to apply to “media proprietors, editors, senior managers and practitioners across all levels within media organizations”.
It is an instrument for instilling ethical practice in the journalism industry “with an ultimate objective of safeguarding professionalism in the media field and preserving the sanctity of the journalism profession”.
For more than two decades now, MISA Lesotho has advocated and lobbied for the formulation of a media legal framework enabling freedom, pluralism, diversity, and professionalization of the sector. A national media policy has been key in the advocacy.
MISA Lesotho has, therefore, expressed appreciation for the NRA’s effort to facilitate the creation of a professional media sector in Lesotho.